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I've often wondered about that, Dave. Is it a Koranic dogma of the unchangeable word (which lets face, would be highly ironic!) that insists only the KJV can be used? Or is it simply a cultural tradition that one knows not to challenge?

The church is understandably reluctant to ditch the KJV since it is the bible of Joseph Smith and would have troubling implications for the Book of Mormon. Would we change the quoted portions of Isaiah and Matthew to the new translation?

Though I am probably in the minority, I like the KJV, and would be reluctant to use a different translation. I think being familiar with KJV language also gave me a big advantage in school reading Shakespeare and other contemporary literature.

What I would like, though, is a KJV version with footnotes pointing out the mistranslations or controversial translations. I wonder why the Church hasn't already done this.

Personally, I think the fact that we use the KJV has an added side benefit; i.e. our "Christian" pedigree is more established; as "Christian" churches used the KJV exclusively since what...1600s? Point: We aren't a 'liberal' Christian church that plays with the Word...we have the BoM to draw other Church's wrath! :)

I think there are two reasons (discusses by Barlow in Mormons and the Bible).

1) Moving to a new version means we lose the ability to recognize allusion and intertextuality between the BoM and the Bible.

2) There was a (misguided IMO) idea that since God chose to use the language of the KJV in the revelations he gave to JS, it has the divine stamp of approval on it.

I think we'll see a different bible used down the road. The NIV is preapproved in the Rel. department at BYU and some professors require students to read two different translations for NT or OT classes.

NFlanders wrote:

>What I would like, though, is a KJV version with footnotes pointing out the mistranslations or controversial translations. I wonder why the Church hasn't already done this.<

Easy answer: the Joseph Smith Translation. How do you handle it? Do you treat those sections with JST in the same way that you treat the rest of the bible? What happens when scholarly translation disagrees with JST? You're just opening up a huge can of worms.

On ditching the KJV, it doesn't seem likely in the near future. We even use KJV language when we say our prayers and bless the food.

I'd love to see a blog entry on the topic that this issue brings to my mind: why the church which once set out to rock the foundations of sectarian christendom now seems determined to do anything *but* rock the boat.


I think most members would still accept the JST as the ultimate authority since we believe many passages have been corrupted over the years. I don't think that means that we can't have more up-to-date biblical scholarship.

You guy’s go to a different church than I do. More than half the prayers are in fully modern American English in my ward/stake.

Dumping the KJV and is inevitable as the language evolves away from it. Since it’s inevitable, I don’t get why we don’t just dump it immediately. Same goes for updating the BofM into modern English. I guess in a church under the stranglehold of very old men, all natural change gets delayed a couple of generations beyond what would otherwise be the case.

Ironically, it would be much easier to come out with an official modern language Book of Mormon in a foreign language than to do so in English. A foreign language version would not seem like a repudiation of the pseudo-original present-day English language Book of Mormon, but an updated English edition would be so viewed.

Of course, the present English text has been updated considerably from the original 1830 text. Lots of 19th-century terms that are now archaic have been dropped and punctuation (seemingly viewed as having nothing to do with the text) has been modified in almost every verse. People who are opposed to a modern language Book of Mormon really ought to be using the 1830 edition.

Interestingly, much of the JST was editorial, e.g., changing saith to said and wist to knew. It seems that Joseph was one of the first proponents of a new english version.

I think there is probably serious resistance to changing the language of the BofM also becasue it is essentiually original text as is (Put directly on paper by a prophet under inspiration of God). Any substantial "translation" to modern language would necessarily bring up interpretation issues.

For example Moroni 7:48 --
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ;"

So do we pray and ask to be filled with this love or do we pray for other things and get filled with with it as a result or both?

Perhaps these nuances could be preserved in a modern English translation, but it is a tricky proposition sometimes...

May I mention that the Living Bible isn't meant to be a translation as such, but is really just a paraphrase of the KJV? A lot of passages are footnoted with the KJV "original" for comparison. I used to learn my memory verses in Sunday School from the King Jimmy, then go home and check them with the Living to make sure I had understood them correctly.

Incidentally, may I ask an ignorant gentile question? I notice NFlanders said above that "most members would still accept the JST as the ultimate authority," but I had always understood that the LDS Church used the KJV as official. Was I misinformed about that, or if not, why is the KJV used as the standard, over the translation made by an actual prophet?

Joel: Short answer- The KJV is the official Bible of English speaking LDS, though it contains excerpts from the JST.

Longer answer: Joseph Smith never finished the JST, at times further clarified or modified what he had translated, and then the RLDS Church had the mss. for many years. Due to those reasons and the mistrust between the two Churches (the LDS suspected the RLDS had manipulated the JST for doctrinal reasons), the JST was never adopted as the Bible of the LDS Church and probably never will, though Matthews has now shown it the mss. to be generally reliable.

For more, check out Phillip Barlow, Mormons and the Bible (Oxford Press) and Robert J. Matthews, "A Plainer Translation": Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible, A History and Commentary (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1975).

You can read the Encyclopedia of Mormonism article about the JST here, though it only touches on these issues.

Didn't Sidney Rigdon have a lot of influence on the JST? Or was that just Lectures on Faith?

I believe that's the Lectures yuo're thinking of. Authorship studies have shown that he probably authored at least one, though since Joseph had editorial control he probably at least "approved" them, for what that's worth.

Ann - The Herald House edition (read RLDS) of the JST includes an F. Henry Edwards article as an intruduction. This intro claims that Rigdon there is some evidence that the JST was at least a partial colaboration between Joseph and Sidney.

I have heard the JST project, which during its active phase in Ohio lasted a couple of years, described as Joseph's extended education in the Bible at the hands of Sidney Rigdon, who was after all a trained minister. On the other hand, while Joseph certainly picked up some ideas from Sidney (as he did from many others), subsequent events showed Joseph was always in the driver's seat; Sidney was a preacher but never a real leader. So I think it would be hard *not* to describe the JST as something of a collaboration between Joseph and Sidney, with Joseph as the dominant partner in the endeavor. After the Book of Mormon project, the JST must have been a piece of cake!

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